Well, I’m still cleaning up my 2013 mess. This one from, oh, October, when an innocent trip to the record store (is there any such thing?) yielded a bunch of $3.99 specials, at least one of which keeps showing up on All Time Best Lists (nevermind whose list it is!). I tell you, I could almost feel the gun at my head.
Soundgarden - Superunknown (1994):
There’s something about Chris Cornell that I just don’t like. Guys with those huge singing voices are not to be trusted around your girlfriend. But I think it was when he went solo and cleaned up his look. He used to look like your typical grunge slob, which didn’t threaten my ego. Now he was doing things like bringing in Timbaland to do production and shaving. He clearly wanted a hit and to be a star. Way too professional for me. And what would Kurt say?
But his old band Soundgarden had its moments. And aside from the superficial Zeppelin similarities it only gets ridiculous on “Limo Crash”, where I can almost overhear the conversation in the studio:
Soundgarden Person 1 (probably the guitar player, but really who knows?): Hey I’ve got this cool groovy atmospheric thing going. Listen! (Plays it.)
Soundgarden Person 2 (probably Chris, but really, who can say?): Oh yeah, that sounds cool! Let me come up with some lyrics to go along with it. Hmm, something indicating a state of confusion. And perhaps being in a daze… (Begins writing.)
Person In Charge: Hey idiots, you’re totally ripping off “Dazed and Confused” (which would be, oh, let's say ironic).
SGP 1: Oh sh*t, you’re right. But I like it!
SGP 2: I’ve got it! We’ll change it midway through.
SGP 1: Cool! No one’ll suspect a thing.
And the rest is not quite history.
And yet. And yet There’s a lot of references to destruction and death here that probably sounded silly before 9/11, but now give me a little chill.
And Chris Cornell? His stupendous vocals mesh quite well with the big guitar and drums. And yes, it's all been done before, but Chris fills his role (and every available space, too) quite well. For a Robert Plant substitute, we could do a lot worse. As a matter of fact, we have done a lot worse.
An actual loud and fast song doesn’t show up until track 11, but that's okay. We like the loud slow ones just fine.
And “Head Down” is just sublime. I had it in my head all day last Friday at work. Couldn’t get a damn thing done. And really, isn’t rock and roll supposed to get people to stop working and f*ck off more?
So I say good job fellas!